Robert (Part 4),
1 Cor 12 is clear that we receive whatever gifts of the Spirit God chooses. We don’t get to pick. We don’t get to complain. We don’t get to brag. God chooses.
If I can’t heal or raise the dead, it’s because God has so chosen. If God wants to go 50,000 years without giving the power to heal, that would be his business.
In OT times, there were times when there were many prophets, and times when there were no prophets. God’s choice. There are no rules. There are no laws. God chooses.
(Jn. 3:8 ESV) 8 “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
I’m not a Cessationist. I believe the Spirit is still alive and active. But I’m no Pentecostal or charismatic.
I don’t blaspheme the Spirit by calling all amazing things the work of demons. I’m not gullible enough to believe all “miracles” are miracles. Some are frauds. Many are frauds. But I have no right to prejudge. The command is to “test the spirits,” not to “prejudge the spirits.”
Have an open mind. Be skeptical. Don’t be gullible. Don’t tell God what he cannot do. It’s not our place.
PS — I was taught the explanation for the Samaritans by Frederick Dale Bruner in A Theology of the Holy Spirit) many long years ago. (Great book but it’s a scholar’s book. It’s not beach reading.)
I’ve since learned that we should think of Acts as a narrative, not a book of rules. And the story follows the outline: Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, based on the words of Jesus to the apostles in Acts 1. If we see the big picture — the story of the spread of the gospel to the nations — then the pattern emerges. God is the star of the book, the protagonist, the one the book is about — as Father, Son, and Spirit. God is in charge of the unfolding of the story the world had been waiting for.
And when we see God in control and winning the victory for us, then it’s not so much about finding a hidden book of rules by which the Spirit is bound and compelled to operate. After all, God the Spirit is God and so not bound by rules. Rather, the Spirit, at God’s behest, is driving the story.
We aren’t in charge. Some hidden rulebook isn’t in charge. God is in charge — and if God wants the Samaritans in his church, then he’ll see that it happens.